Road toll too hard

January 4, 2019

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter says it will be decades before the road toll drops substantially:

The Government announced last month it would invest $1.4 billion in road safety upgrades over the next three years in an effort to reduce the road toll, which ended at 382 for last year.

But Genter says while she expects the number of deaths to come down over the next few years, it will be decades before the number drops significantly. . .

But National’s associate transport spokesperson, Brett Hudson, said the public should get more for the amount invested.

“The immediate question is: What do we get for that $1.4b?

“Is the associate minister saying these things won’t save lives? Are they [the Coalition Government] prioritising that money in the right place, or do they not have confidence in what they can achieve?

“If we’re spending $1.4 billion but it’s going to take decades [to substantially reduce the road toll], the associate minister seems to be saying that $1.4b isn’t actually effective.

“Then shouldn’t she actually be doing something that is?”. . .

Putting fuel tax into roading improvements instead of cycle lanes and public transport would help.

Getting people off roads and onto bikes, buses and trains would reduce the road toll but most goods have to be transported by road, and cycle lanes and public transport are only the answer in some routes in some cities.

Like all people who live in the country, most of my driving is on the open road, from home to town.  In spite of the increase in population in our district, I can still do the return journey of nearly 40 kilometres without seeing more than a very few other vehicles until I get to the main road on the outskirts of Oamaru.

But major roads are much busier.

The state highways I use most often are north to Christchurch, south to Dunedin and west to Wanaka. All of them have far more traffic than there used to be and because of that every trip takes longer than it used to.

Longer trips with more traffic are more dangerous, especially when most of them are on two-lane roads with few passing lanes and without median barriers.

Why has Genter put reducing the road toll sooner into the too-hard basket when part of the solution is simple?

Redirecting money from cycle lanes and trains back into widening the roads, and adding passing lanes and median barriers would make more roads safer, sooner.

 

 


$2.63 and rising

October 8, 2018

Is this the most expensive petrol in the country?

Regular petrol in Wanaka yesterday cost $2.639, premium was more than $3 and diesel was $1.999.

The lower value of the New Zealand dollar is contributing to the rising price, but so too is the government’s new fuel tax.

It’s supposed to be levied only in Auckland but it’s appears to be spreading throughout the country.

And whether or not the tax is spreading north and south of Auckland, the pain of higher fuel prices is being felt nationwide.

All goods and services have a transport component, when the price of fuel increases, it put pressures on every single thing that is transported.

And the virtue signalling about the environment is cold comfort for those of us who will rarely if ever use Auckland’s public transport and have no public transport available locally.

This will be a tax too far for many people.

A government that talks about caring about child poverty needs to act to reduce the costs their parents can’t avoid.

 


11.5c + 3-4c = more poverty

June 1, 2018

Petrol was $2.22 a litre when I filled up my car yesterday.

That’s expensive and it’s going to get worse:

Aucklanders will be hit with a 11.5c a litre rise as soon the regional fuel tax comes into effect on July 1, with petrol companies saying they will be passing the full increase on.

And there will be more pain when prices rise by as much as 4c a litre again on October 1 if the first round of three national fuel excise increases is implemented following a policy statement announcement at the end of June.

The Government has indicated the increase will be 3-4c every year for three years. . . 

A tax of 11.5 cents now and 3-4 cents in a few weeks will add up to more poverty.

Aucklanders might face the highest price increase but it will affect all of us one way or another because at least some of the price rise will spread throughout the country.

Every trip everyone makes in a petrol-fueled vehicle will cost more and so too will every trip everything everyone buys, and everything that goes into everything everyone buys.

The price rise might encourage some to forgo private transport for public, but public transport doesn’t serve everyone in cities and there are no passenger trains and local buses outside cities and you can’t put goods and services on trains and buses.

The price rises will fuel inflation which will put pressure on interest rates which will put more pressure on prices which will further fuel inflation . . .

And who will be hardest hit by that?

It’s always the poorest.

Auckland needs better roads but had mayor Phil Goff kept to his promise of finding 3-6 percent efficiencies across the Council budget, this tax would not be needed.

For the sake of us all, Aucklanders must come up with a viable alternative who could beat the incumbent at next year’s election to save us from another three years of tax and spend.


366 days of gratitude

April 25, 2016

Many took the opportunity of today’s statutory holiday to have a long weekend away.

For those in and near our bigger cities that could mean hours in heavy traffic going and returning.

I drove 210 kilometres home this evening without having to pass a single other vehicle going the same way as me. Only one car came up behind and passed me and there would have been fewer than 50 vehicles which passed in the opposite direction.

Today I’m grateful I live in a part of the country which rarely has to endure traffic delays – and most of the few I encounter would be stock rather than vehicles.


366 days of gratitude

February 19, 2016

People who live in cities choose, or have, to use buses regularly and the drivers’ strike in Auckland was forecast to cause chaos however, commuters report ‘dream runs’ and lighter than usual traffic  thanks to many opting to walk or take alternative forms of transport.

What that says about repeated calls for more public transport and fewer cars is moot and dream runs and lighter traffic are relative.

I live about 20 kilometres from town. There are three give way signs on the route I usually take and nine times out of 10 there’s no traffic to which I have to yield.

Unless someone’s moving stock on the road or there’s a harvester or other heavy machinery using it, I can make the trip with no hold-ups.

Today I’m grateful I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with urban traffic and the associated stop-go driving regularly.

 

 

 


Council + community = progress

April 14, 2015

A challenge from Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher has resulted in the main road in to Moeraki being rebuilt:

. . . Haven St has been closed to through traffic since August 2013 when a 350m to 400m section collapsed following heavy rain.

The road is being rebuilt as part of a push by the Moeraki community to reopen the road because of concerns about the width of the alternative route via Tenby St and that visitors were having problems finding their way to local restaurants and accommodation providers.

A group was formed to work with the Waitaki District Council and manage offers of help and material from local people to tackle the work under the supervision of an engineer and work on the road began in February.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the rebuilt section of street was ”very impressive”. He was ”blown away” by what had been a ”fairly unique partnership” between the Waitaki District Council, the Moeraki community and local contractors.

”Numerous community members have done so well getting the road to this stage.”

He did not believe so much work had ever gone into the stretch of road, which had been notorious for slips for many years.

”Time will be the real test, of course. This work has been the chance to give it our very best effort. If this doesn’t succeed, I’m sure that nothing will, short of spending millions on it.”.

The project started as a challenge the mayor gave to the community at the meeting at the Moeraki Marae late last year.

”They more than met that challenge.”

An NZTA subsidy was not available for the road, and the district council offered to help pay if the community matched it in cash or in kind.

In the end the council would have spent about $60,000 of ratepayers’ money on the road.

He was keen to publicly acknowledge the huge impact the Moeraki community had made. . .

The popularity of the harbour,  Fleurs Place and the tavern leads to a lot of traffic on this road and the detour was less than optimal.

The rebuilding is a tribute to the people who accepted the mayor’s challenge.

This project could be a template for progress in other areas where there’s an opportunity for the council and community to work together.


Fuel price fall good as pay rise

January 7, 2015

A few weeks ago when I filled my car it cost nearly $120. I filled it last week for less than $100 and the price of fuel has fallen since then, and is predicted to fall more.

. . . Brent crude oil, the oil imported to New Zealand for petrol, was down US91c to US$56.42 a barrel on Friday on the back of continued concerns about a global supply glut.

Earlier in the day it had fallen to a post-2009 low of US$55.48, only half its average price of about US$110 a barrel between 2011 and 2013. . .

That reduction is as good as a pay rise or tax cut.

The benefit isn’t just the direct one of needing to spend less on fuel. There’s also the indirect benefit from a reduction in the cost of transporting goods.

Fuel is a significant cost on most farms and in many other businesses which will welcome the savings.

The government will get less in GST from fuel, but at least some of that will be offset by people spending money they would have spent on fuel on other things.

What does this mean for the theory of peak oil?

The price is a function of supply and demand and the lower price reflects a higher supply.


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